Friday , May 19, 2017 - 5:15 AM
OGDEN — Four years ago this month, Doug Smith entered his first Ogden Marathon and began a quest to breeze past the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston.
Saturday’s running of the 17th annual Ogden Marathon, a Boston Marathon qualifier, could be Smith’s best chance yet to get a racing bib in the event.
Smith, 38, of Clinton, has been on a rigorous, 22-week training schedule to reach the qualifying time of 3 hours, 10 minutes for his age group (35-39 year old men) necessary to run in Boston next April.
OGDEN MARATHON: THE RUNNERS
• Despite cystic fibrosis, one woman and her mom will tackle the Ogden Marathon
• Ogden Marathon a trip down memory lane for 60-year-old entered for 15th time
• Well-traveled Utah marathoner calls Ogden Marathon the most beautiful
“My training block started back in December. I did some sets of track workouts like 440, 1000 meter or mile repeats and mainly treadmill sessions late at night after work in the winter,” Smith said. “I also had another day with tempo runs of five to six miles at marathon pace and then I have a long run on Saturdays.”
His long runs started at 13 miles and ramped up to about 23 miles starting in January, with no extended runs shorter than 15 miles. Smith says he has averaged 60 miles a week and topped out at 75 miles for his heaviest week.
He’s since tapered down to about 35-40 miles a week, getting in recovery mode to let all the training sink in and allow muscles to recover so his legs are fresh for Saturday’s race.
While 3:10 is the magical time, Smith has a goal to finish the Ogden Marathon in 3:07. His best time in Ogden has been 3:46, but he has never had such a comprehensive training plan in place.
“For me, it’s all about endurance. All my training is geared to running a 3 hour, seven minute Ogden Marathon and everything I’ve done at this point signifies that it should happen. I need to get to the dam at mile 17 in good time and then it should be faster coming down the canyon,” Smith said. “If I can go out and do exactly what I have in training, it’s going to happen.”
He first tried to qualify for the Boston Marathon in February 2016 at the Los Angeles Marathon but came up a little short, and targeted Ogden to go for his goal again.
“I think there’s that lure because it’s the oldest-running marathon and a time is associated with it. You can’t just go and sign up like you can with most other marathons,” Smith said. “There’s that aura where you have to be better than most. So there’s added incentive to get into it, which makes Boston more special.”
Smith ran for a season in middle school but didn’t start seriously until 2013 when his father, brother and sister were preparing to run a marathon and wanted to put a team together to run Ragnar in Las Vegas. His running career took off from there and he typically runs 10 to 12 half-marathons a year.
This will be his fifth Ogden Marathon and three of those have been run in rainy, cold conditions — but the only one he didn’t complete was on a hot day in 2014.
MORE OGDEN MARATHON
“That was the year I didn’t finish because I dropped out from heat exhaustion,” Smith said. “I got to the dam and couldn’t keep anything down. So I’m happy for cold, but don’t like the rain.”
With a hashtag motto of #OgdenWillKissMyButt, Smith is motivated to rail against the travails he’s had during the past four races.
“Ogden has kind of been that demon. I haven’t been able to conquer it, as far as qualifying,” Smith said. “I didn’t have any expectations in 2013, but after that, Ogden has beat me up with the (did-not-finish), the weather and not reaching my time goals.”
A Lagoon catering manager, Smith has had to work at fitting in his marathons with his weekend requirements, handling chaos and unpredictability through dealing with 14 to 18-year-old teens on a daily basis — one of the reasons he cleaned up his hashtag.
Managing his work schedule and his running requirements, Smith has a great opportunity this year to reach his ultimate goal.
Sign up for e-mail news updates.